Suffer the Little Children

Episode 50: Poppie Van der Merwe (Part 1)

February 17, 2021

In this episode, I cover my first ever South African case, that of three-year-old Poppie Van der Merwe. Poppie and her five-year-old brother were frequently seen by teachers, doctors, neighbors, and others with bruises and other injuries. When social services became involved, her mother and stepfather moved the family overnight to avoid the investigation, and the physical abuse escalated exponentially. Three weeks later, Poppie was rushed to the hospital, unresponsive, and declared dead on arrival.

This is the story of the murder of a tiny, blonde-haired, blue-eyed doll whose smile stole the hearts of an entire country. It’s also a sadly familiar story of the failure of an agency tasked with protecting children despite countless warning signs and multiple reports from those close to the family. 

This is part 1 of the heartbreaking story of Poppie Van der Merwe. 

Huge thanks to today’s sponsors:

Every bag of gourmet coffee purchased from Free Lunch Coffee provides 10 meals to hungry children! Visit their website here.

Smile Brilliant provides teeth whitening and oral care products customized just for you! Visit their website here.

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This podcast is written, hosted, edited, and produced by Laine. 

For more stories like Poppie’s, visit Suffer the Little Children Blog.

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